Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led India government is planning to offer limited period free Wi-Fi service in 2,500 cities and towns across the country over three years.
Indian telecom service provider BSNL will implement the project that will have an investment of nearly Rs 7,000 crore, Times of India reported.
BSNL will offer the service to subscribers of all mobile operators in a bid to boost its data revenue and will address the Digital India mission of the BJP Government.
After the end of the free Wi-Fi service offering, mobile customers will be charged. Key cities and towns such as Kolkata, Chennai, Lucknow, Dehradun, Hyderabad, Varanasi, Bhopal, Jaipur, Patna, Indore, Chandigarh and Ludhiana will be part of the free Wi-Fi program.
BSNL chairman and managing director Anupam Shrivastava said the services will begin in the next financial year (2015-16).
Echoing the sentiments of BSNL CMD, UTStarcom Director Sales (SAARC Countries) Rahul Pandey on Thursday said that the telecom network company is seeing major revival of wireline broadband in India. UTStarcom India is expecting revenue increase in 2015 thanks to Modi Government’s plans on Smart Cities, Digital India, NOFN, etc.
The state-run telecom operator is considering this as a major revenue booster after posting losses in the last nearly four financial years. BSNL recorded a loss of about Rs 7,000 crore in 2013-14. Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has already listed revival of BSNL and MTNL among his top priorities, the report said.
The speed of Wi-Fi will be of 4G levels as the company will develop it around its optic fiber and cable network. BSNL will set up 50,000-60,000 Wi-Fi hotspots as part of the program. Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance Jio Infocomm is expected to launch 4G on both FD-LTE and TD-LTE technologies during fiscal 2015-16. Airtel is also expanding its 4G penetration.
BSNL targets to generate Rs 1,500 crore from data business out of Rs 13,500 crore revenue through mobile business. The telecom PSU will target nearly Rs 14,000 crore from fixed line business, half will be through broadband and data services.